Cannings rejects review application

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 15th, 2013


THE Supreme Court last Friday dismissed Jim Nomane’s application to review a Feb 18 decision of the National Court that dismissed his election petition for the Chuave open electorate.

Justice David Cannings, on behalf of Justices Ambeng Kandakasi and Berna Joan Collier, handed down the unanimous decision in a packed courtroom. 

The Supreme Court ruled that ultimately, Nomane’s application for review failed to demonstrate that the judge’s decision to uphold the objection to competency was wrong.  

Nomane’s application was made to review the decision of acting National Court judge Justice Mekeo Gauli of Feb 18.

In the earlier decision of the National Court, Gauli upheld Wera Mori’s (first respondent) objection to competency of Nomane’s petition which was filed last year and dismissed the petition in its entirety. 

Nomane and Mori were candidates for the Chuave open electorate, Chimbu, in last year’s General Election.  

Polling started in the electorate on July 7 and on July 29 the Electoral Commission (second respondent) declared Mori as the winner. 

Nomane filed the election petition in the National Court seeking orders that Mori’s election be declared invalid and that a by-election be called for Chuave. 

The petition alleged that Mori had, on nine occasions, bribed voters in the electorate.

Gauli heard the notice of objection to competency from Feb 11-12 and, at the objection to competency hearing, Nomane only pressed five of the nine alleged bribery claims.

Gauli ordered that Mori’s objection to competency be upheld and that the petition be dismissed in its entirety. 

It was ordered that Nomane pay costs and a security deposit of K5,000 held by the registrar to the respondents in equal shares. 

Nomane however filed an application for review of Gauli’s decision on March 25 seeking orders that:

  • The decision of the National Court of Feb 18  be set aside or quashed;
  • The petition be restored and paragraphs 7.4, 7.6, 7.7, 7.9, and 7.10 of the petition proceed to trial before another judge of the National Court, and,
  • Costs of the National Court hearing and this application for review be granted to the applicant (Nomane). 

Nomane relied on 15 grounds of review which were generally classed into groups regarding the sufficiency of the pleadings, attestation of witnesses, and bribery allegations. 

The Supreme Court ruled that the application for review failed as Nomane failed to demonstrate that Gauli’s decision was wrong.

“It is clear that in a number of respects, the petition failed to meet the requirements of clear and material facts,” Cannings said.